Harold And Maude Character Analysis

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Pages: 6

Optimism saves the day
Character Analysis of Maude
The quote “Live life to the fullest” by Ernest Hemingway comes to mind when describing the character Maude in Colin Higgins book “Harold and Maude”. The author Higgins has portrayed the character the Countess Mathilda Chardin (Maude), a seventy-nine year old woman, as a carefree spirit who loves life and is a rebel at heart that doesn’t easily conform to society’s pressures. However, as you read the book you realize that Maude despite her happy go lucky and tree-hugging persona on the surface, has dealt with numerous hardships in her life. In fact, the text Writing Essays about Literature would describe her as a “round (complex) and dynamic character” because of her multiple personality traits
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Her carefree attitude and non-materialistic nature is quickly evident. These traits are seen through her actions and dialogues. For instance, Maude’s action of “borrowing” stranger cars may appear as a result of her carefree attitude, a person who doesn’t worry too much about consequences and simply enjoys life. However, through Maude’s dialogue “We don’t own anything … we come on the earth with nothing, and we go out with nothing …” (29) “here today, gone tomorrow, so don’t get attached to things”(30). She gives the audience the reason for her actions, which runs deeper than just being carefree. Maude action’s is trying to make a point of the act of letting go of your materialistic things. Unlike Maude who is a fictional character created by Higgins, the story of Christopher McCandless comes to mind, a twenty-four year old who chose to give his life savings away to charity and free himself of his possessions and live off the land in the biographical movie “Into the Wild” by Sean Penn [1]. This a quote by Christopher “Two years he walks the earth. No phone, no pool, no pets, no cigarettes. Ultimate freedom.” Just like Maude Christopher [1] didn’t want money and other material possessions controlling his life and wanted to prove that he could easily do without it. This dialogue of Maude gives another insight, “ it’s only a machine…it’s not as if it were …show more content…
Although one characteristic that plays a central role in this book is her optimistic nature. This makes Maude a truly inspiring character not just for Harold but also for the audience. Despite all her struggles in her past like losing her husband or being a prisoner, she chose to remain optimistic and didn’t let pessimism take control of her life. In fact, nowhere in the book will you find Maude say one negative thing about the time in her life that can only be described as history’s most terrifying and horrible ordeal. Instead she continues to have faith in humanity as she states, “Mankind will have learned to deal with evil. Maybe he will have phased it out altogether, and we’ll all be flying around…like angels.” (113) The theme of optimism is also a common thread with Christopher McCandless [1] as his journal entries show he was content with life despite the hardships he encountered on his travels. This positivity can be seen even in his very last message before his death “I have had a happy life and thank the Lord. Goodbye and May God bless all!